If anyone can beat this …

So I walk into the New Rochelle train station this morning, buy a muffin and see this on the newsstand:

I love Christina Applegate as an actress, and truly hope she survives this and comes out stronger. But I hate—loathe, really—the way we in the media cover stories like this. Actress or no actress, Applegate is a 36-year-old woman facing a potentially life-ending illness. If you’re gonna write about this, tell me how she really feels; how she views her life; what her approach to handling the illness is; who is her doctor; etc. Details, details, details.

Instead, crap publications like Us follow the most basic, our-readers-our-idiots formula. Part 1: How she found out. Part 2: Her family history with cancer. Part 3. She was living the perfect life, seemingly without a care in the world. Part 4. (My least favorite element, by far) The essential, we-must-have, “If anyone can beat this, it’s Christina quote.”

Boy, do I detest those quotes. Such a simplis—no, stupid, way of looking at a disease. I believe strongly in the power of positive mental outlook (and wish I had one more often, to be honest), but cancer just doesn’t work that way. Miserable people live. Positive people die. Devout Christians have it spread throughout their bodies. Athiests get rid of it relatively easily. There are Lance Armstrongs and there are Eric Carrs. It’s not a particularly biased thing.

So, please, let’s treat an illness with the respect and authenticity and fear that it warrants.

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